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Use of comma and quotation mark

English translation: quotation marks

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05:20 Jul 2, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary / Common sense grammar
English term or phrase: Use of comma and quotation mark
I thought that a comma or a period comes before the quotation mark as a rule in American English. But WORD editing says NO. Without getting into the sophisticated controversies, can someone explain to me what is the generally accepted usage in American English? It will help me a lot.
Shinya Ono
United States
Local time: 09:07
English translation:quotation marks
Explanation:
According to Longman's Guide to English usage periods and commas are inside the quotation marks for direct speech in both BrE and AmE.

BrE puts periods and commas outside the quotation marks in other circumstances, whereas AmE puts them inside the quotation marks:

He has been called "the best singer alive."

In both BrE and AmE, semicolons and colons are outside the quotation marks. The position of other marks depends on whether they belong to the direct speech:

The girl asked "Is that what it means?"
Did she say "It's against my religious principles"?

If both the direct speech and the sentence as a whole are questions, it is clearer to use only one question mark, either inside or outside the quotation marks:

Did she say "Is that what it means?"
Did she say "Is that what it means"?

Hope this helps you!
Selected response from:

Barbara Østergaard
Denmark
Local time: 02:07
Grading comment
To speakers of Danish, Farsi, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, Haitian and Creole, Spanish, and British and American English:

4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1See grammatical explanation below.xxxCHENOUMI
5A reference
Mads Grøftehauge
4Place outside, unless part of material being quoted
Jeannie Graham
4quotation marks
Barbara Østergaard
4The girl asked, "Is this what it means?"
jerrie


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


38 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
See grammatical explanation below.


Explanation:
It all depends. If the comma or the period are part of the sentence inside the quotation marks, they should remain inside. Same for all other punctuation maks pertaining to the quoted sentence.

Example:
>> He told me: "Did you take the books, bags and the map?"

All punctuation marks are kept inside the quotation as part of the original sentence.



xxxCHENOUMI
Native speaker of: Native in Haitian-CreoleHaitian-Creole, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Enza Longo
55 mins
  -> Thanks Enza.
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56 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
A reference


Explanation:
Here's
'A Functional Guide to Some Problems of English Punctuation'
for general reference to anyone interested.

http://www.hum.au.dk/engelsk/pages/punctuation.shtml

From the introduction:
-Most guides to punctuation usage are organised under the different punctuation marks. Thus, you can look under 'commas' and find ten different uses of the comma listed, and so on. This is fine if you want to make a full list of all the different things punctuation can do in English. However, it is not so convenient if you have an idea of what you want to do, but don't know which punctuation mark - if any - should be used.

-This guide is organised according to the functions of punctuation, the different things that punctuation can be used for. Hopefully, it will be useful for looking up the solution to specific problems. It is not intended as a systematic and complete account of English punctuation, but concentrates on areas of punctuation use that often cause difficulty.

-Both British and American systems of punctuation are described in cases where these differ.



    Reference: http://www.hum.au.dk/engelsk/pages/punctuation.shtml
Mads Grøftehauge
Local time: 02:07
Native speaker of: Native in DanishDanish
PRO pts in pair: 16
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
quotation marks


Explanation:
According to Longman's Guide to English usage periods and commas are inside the quotation marks for direct speech in both BrE and AmE.

BrE puts periods and commas outside the quotation marks in other circumstances, whereas AmE puts them inside the quotation marks:

He has been called "the best singer alive."

In both BrE and AmE, semicolons and colons are outside the quotation marks. The position of other marks depends on whether they belong to the direct speech:

The girl asked "Is that what it means?"
Did she say "It's against my religious principles"?

If both the direct speech and the sentence as a whole are questions, it is clearer to use only one question mark, either inside or outside the quotation marks:

Did she say "Is that what it means?"
Did she say "Is that what it means"?

Hope this helps you!


    Longman's Guide to English usage
Barbara Østergaard
Denmark
Local time: 02:07
Native speaker of: Native in DanishDanish
PRO pts in pair: 12
Grading comment
To speakers of Danish, Farsi, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, Haitian and Creole, Spanish, and British and American English:

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  John Kinory: I'd be grateful if someone could explain to me the logic of He has been called "the best singer alive." since the full-stop is not part of the appellation :-) But the CSM does have it so {shrug}
2 hrs

neutral  Catherine Bolton: I have to agree with John. I'm American, and we would say: He has been called "the best singer alive".
3 hrs
  -> I guess it's a matter of style... But it is the grammatical rule :o)
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
The girl asked, "Is this what it means?"


Explanation:
In BrE, I was always taught to put a comma before the start of the speech, and that punctuation required within the speech always went inside the speech marks.

hth

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Place outside, unless part of material being quoted


Explanation:
Marion asked "Why?"
Have you seen "About a Boy"?
"I'm going to get him back," he said angrily.
He said angrily, "I'm going to get him back."


    Write Right by Jan Venolia - digest of punctuation, grammar, style
Jeannie Graham
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 32

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  John Kinory: In your 3rd example, 'he' never said the comma that you placed inside the quotation marks.
2 hrs
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